Tigers - India - Wildlife Conservation
The tiger, largest of all cats, is one of the most
charismatic and evocative species on the Earth;
tiger is also one of the most threatened. Only 6,000
or so remain in the wild, most in isolated pockets
spread across increasingly fragmented forests
stretching from India to south-eastern China and
from the Russian Far East to Indonesia. Across its
range, tigers are being poisoned, electrocuted,
blown up by land mines, trapped, snared, shot and
captured. The majority of tigers are sought to meet
the demands of a continuing illegal wildlife trade.
Hunters, traders, and poor local residents whose
main means of subsistence comes from the forest, are
wiping out the tiger and the natural prey upon which
it depends. While poaching for trade continues to
menace the tiger's survival, perhaps the greatest
long-term threats are the loss of habitat and the
depletion of the tiger's natural prey. Tiger
sightings have become quite rare these days in
India, reason being the Tiger killings because of
its multitude of medicinal or magical properties
that is why tiger trade is very profitable.
Genuinely the tiger skin is not fashionable but the
smuggling of Tiger fur coats and rugs are not
difficult for the impoverished hunters. Even after
the bans made by the government warning not to
gather even wood from the former hunting grounds,
poaching of tigers continue.
Already 3 tiger
subspecies are extinct - In the past century,
the world has lost three of the eight tiger
subspecies. The Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers have
all become extinct, and the South China tiger is
facing the same fate.
Seven areas offer the
best hope for conservation - WWF's new tiger
conservation strategy and action plan - Conserving
Tigers in the Wild: A WWF Framework Strategy for
Action 2002-2010 - identifies seven focal tiger
landscapes where the chances of long-term tiger
conservation are best and its involvement will be
most valuable. In each of the focal landscapes, WWF
aims to establish and manage effective tiger
conservation areas, reduce the poaching of tigers
and their prey, eliminate the trade in tiger parts
and products, create incentives that will encourage
local communities and others to support tiger
conservation, and build capacity for tiger
Species Description -
The tiger is the largest of the cats and can be
found in a wide range of habitats, from the
evergreen and monsoon forests of Indo-Malaysia to
the mixed coniferous-deciduous woodlands of the
Russian Far East and the mangrove swamps of the
Corbett National Park, India. The characteristic
stripe patterns differ from one individual to
another and from one side of the cat's body to the
other. In fact, there are no tigers with identical
markings. Males exhibit a characteristic ruff
(lengthened hairs around the neck), which is
especially marked in the Sumatran tiger.
Tigers are typically solitary hunters and prey
mainly on deer and wild pig. Where this prey is in
abundance, such as Corbett National Park in India,
territories range from 20 to 30km² for females and
40 to 70km² for males. In Russia, where the density
of prey is much lower, territories vary in size from
200 to 400km2 for females and 800 to 1,000km2 for
Tigers have dens in caves, tree hollows and dense
vegetation. They are mostly nocturnal but in the
northern part of its range, the Siberian subspecies
may also be active during the day at winter- time.
Using their sight and hearing rather than smell, the
tiger stalks its prey and once it has reached close
proximity, attacks from the side or rear and kills
by a bite to the neck or the back of the head. In
90% of cases however, tigers fail to neutralize
their prey. Unless they die, tigers are never
replaced on their range. Although individuals do not
patrol their territories, the range is visited over
a period of days or weeks and it is marked with
urine and feces.
Size - Body
length of the tigers is 140-280 cm and tail length
is 60 to 95 cm.
Colour - The
upper part of the tigers ranges from reddish orange
to ochre, and the under parts are whitish. The body
has a series of black striations of black to dark
Why is this species
The tiger is a powerful symbol of reverence among
the variety of cultures that live across its range.
Wherever tigers live, they command respect, awe or
fear from their human neighbors. Even in places
where tigers have become extinct or never existed in
the wild, they live in myth and legend. Recognized
throughout the world for its ferocity and
unmistakable beauty, the tiger faces an uncertain
future. Due to increases in both natural and human
threats, the wild tiger population suffered major
losses during the 20th century and has become one of
our most endangered species. By the 1950s, tigers
living around the Caspian Sea were extinct; between
1937 and 1972 the population of tigers that once
inhabited the islands of Bali and Java disappeared;
the South China tiger, with at best 20 to 30
individuals, is nearly extinct in the wild.
India today has the largest number of tigers,
numbering somewhere between 3,030 and 4,735 and it
is estimated that only 5,100 to 7,500 individual
tigers now remain in the entire world. These
remaining tigers are threatened by many factors,
including growing human populations, loss of
habitat, illegal hunting of tigers and the species
they hunt, and expanded trade in tiger parts used
for traditional medicines.
As top predators, tigers keep populations of wild
ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance
between herbivores and the vegetation upon which
they feed. In short, when tigers thrive, the
ecosystem thrives. Still efforts are continuously
made to preserve these magnificent predators from
extinction. The Project tiger was launched in India
in 1972 as conservation programme for saving the
Indian Tiger Population. Some of the best examples
of this programmes success can be seen in the
national parks situated in the high Himalayan
region, Corbett National Park. But more wildlife
conservation laws and awareness among people is
still required to make Indian sanctuaries a safe
haven for tigers.
WWF and its conservation partners are working to
combat these threats and save the tiger. Together,
we can ensure that we leave our children a planet
where tigers still roam wild.
A tiger has been reported to cover up to 10 meters
in a horizontal leap.
The World Wide Web is an immense resource of
knowledge. Below we've included our favorite links
on tigers and other related subjects.
The population of tigers in India suffered a heavy
decline in the post-Independence period. The main
1. Diversion of forest land to make way for
developmental activities like irrigation,
hydroelectric projects, road/rail construction etc.
2. The degradation and fragmentation of wildlife
habitat under growing human needs for fuel, fodder
and extraction of non-timber forest products.
3. Sport hunting and poaching of tigers for
Project Tiger was launched with the following main
To ensure maintenance of a viable population of
tiger in India for scientific, economic, aesthetics
cultural and ecological values.
To preserve, for all times, the areas of such
biological importance as a national heritage for the
benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.
Project Tiger was launched from CorbettIn 1972 the
tiger population shrunk to an all-time low of 1,800,
which drew the attention of the Government to take
urgent measures to conserve tigers. After the
introduction of the Wildlife (Protection) Act in
1972, a special conservation programme focussed on
tiger protection was mooted. This was called Project
Tiger. Project Tiger was launched on 1st April 1973
from Dhikala in Corbett National Park with the
announcement of 9 tiger reserves (including Corbett)
including 268 tigers. Subsequently, more protected
areas were brought under the umbrella of Project
Tiger and tiger population in India visibly
improved. It was estimated at over 4,000 according
to the 1989 census.
However, the 1993 census showed that there was a
decline in numbers with the total standing at 3,750
tigers. The overall population in tiger reserves was
relatively stable but there was a marked fall in
population that existed outside these reserves. One
of the main reasons for this was an increase in
international illegal trafficking of tiger parts,
especially bones that are used in traditional
Chinese and Korean medicine systems. Over the years
more areas were brought under Project Tiger and
declared as tiger reserves. Today there are 27
declared tiger reserves covering more than 37,700
km2. Several more are proposed to be added to the
Project Tiger is governed by the Government of India
as Directorate of Project Tiger under the Ministry
of Environment and Forests. It is headed by Director
(rank of Chief Conservator of Forests). The Director
supervises and monitors the management of Tiger
Reserves and provides financial assistance of to
various state governments. Tiger Reserves are under
the administrative control of State governments.
Each Tiger Reserve is managed by a Field Director
(rank of Conservator of Forests). The Field Director
reports to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State,
and is assisted by Deputy Director(s) and the usual
field staff. The States receive 100% financial
assistance for non- recurring items and 50% of
financial assistance for approved recurring items.
To get Corbett Tiger information and to know more
about Tiger Tour at Corbett National Park or to
reserve a wildlife safari tour to corbett national
park, write email on
"Extinction stalks world's tigers"
- NEW! - CNN Interactive article on the state
of the threat to tigers the world over. Links
directly to ENN, CNN's environmental news wing, and
to other sites of interest.
Tiger Action Fund
- More than half the surviving tigers live in India
or its neighboring countries. The tourist
organization, Rare Explorations, has taken up the
cause of the tiger.
World Wildlife Fund's Cybertiger
- Here at the UK's World Wildlife Fund site, play an
interactive game to win a limited edition CD-ROM
that follows the life of a real tiger.
Save the Siberian Tigers
- Read interesting facts about the panthera
tigris altaica and find out how to sponsor a
The Tiger Information Center
- Excellent informational and educational site
dedicated solely to helping conservation efforts of
five subspecies of tigers.
David Rose's Tiger Page
- Straight information from around the world about
poaching and the status of various subspecies of
The Cyber Zoomobile
- Lengthy but information-packed essay on tigers.
- Ambitious site ready to make an impact on saving
tigers. Find out what you can do to help!
The Tiger Foundation
- Another great foundation committed to saving
tigers in Asia.
Year of the Tiger
- Come celebrate the Year of the Tiger with the
World Wildlife Fund.
The Siberian Tiger Project
- Follow the steps of Russian and American
scientists at the Hornocker Wildlife Institute who
are spearheading research on the natural behavior of
Phoenix Zoo's Sumatran Tiger
- Fast facts on the Sumatran tiger.
- "The biggest online showcase on Indian wildlife."
Access pictures of tigers and learn more about other
endangered species in India.
Sites about India
The Times of India
- Indian daily newspaper with comprehensive coverage
of political news and links to other publications.
India by City.Net
- Excite's extensive guide to traveling to India.
- The Indian Government's official site to the
country. But this site does not only talk politics!
Read about sports, culture, social issues, and
tourism in India.
Hill Tours Pvt. Ltd.
- Specializing in special interest tours to the
Indian subcontinent, take an eco-friendly trip to
Agra, Jaipur, the wildlife sanctuaries of India or
to Tigerland in Kanha.
- All the current news about India and more! From
cooking to cricket, browse this comprehensive site.
Other Links to Wildlife Conservation Sites
Cyberpanda's Panda Resources
- Jumpstation to panda sites all over the Net.
International Rhino Foundation
- There are five remaining species of rhinoceros -
all on the verge of extinction. Learn more about
this 50 million year old species.
Greenpeace - Endangered Species in Canada
- The Canadian branch of Greenpeace has built an
alert Web site to inform Web surfers about
endangered species and their habitat in Canada.
Endangered Species Act
- An online resource guide to the ESA.
The Bear Den
- Site dedicated to spreading information about the
North American bear.